Last orders about to be called at oldest bar in Hawick

Ian Niblo, owner of the High Level Bar in Hawick.
Ian Niblo, owner of the High Level Bar in Hawick.

Last orders are soon to be called at one of the Borders’ oldest pubs.

After almost quarter of a century at the High Level Bar in Hawick’s Green Terrace, owner Ian Niblo has decided it’s time to call it a day.

Ian Niblo behind the bar.

Ian Niblo behind the bar.

That’s a decision made only reluctantly, he says, but, at the age of 74, he believes the time has come to take things easy and spend more time with wife Paula.

Father-of-four Ian had hoped the pub could be retained as a licensed premises.

He put it on the market for an initial asking price of £99,000, since reduced to £62,000, a year and a half ago.

However, there have been no takers, and now he is considering applying to have it converted for residential use.

Ian, previously in charge of the town’s Station Hotel and Ewe and Lamb pub, admitted attempts to increase turnover had not worked out.

He said: “It’s just unfortunate, but, just as it is for a number of other bars, it has been tough.

“I had to retire some time, and I think that time has come.

“I’d like it to stay as a pub because it has such a long history, but no offers have been forthcoming.

“I took the decision to close four weeks ago when we were on holiday in Spain.

“It’s tough because we have some lovely regulars, but I just can’t wait around for ever.”

The existing bar’s history had been thought to go back to 1890, making it the oldest pub in Hawick.

Ian was surprised to find it was even older than that, however, after a customer came in with some historical documents revealing that it had been on the go well before then, possibly predating the construction of Green Terrace in 1866 in an earlier incarnation.

He explained: “They showed that the pub is even older than I thought and that it was called the Nag’s Head before.

“It’s a fascinating document with a diagram of the old town and the other pubs in Hawick at the time.”

Ian hasn’t set a date for closing the pub he took over back in 1994 yet, but it is expected to be within the next few weeks.